ORAL HISTORY
 
 

Timothy O’Hanlon

Why did you leave Ireland?
I left Ireland because there was very little work.  At the time I was making 2 Pounds (about $8) for a 6 day workweek in a beet sugar factory.  But the work was only in November though January.  Since I was the second youngest of 10 children my brother inherited the farm and so I couldn’t stay there after he married. When did you leave Ireland? I left Ireland in April 1948and arrived in New York on the second RMS Mauretania in May 1948.  I was 35 when I came here. What was your first impression of New York? I didn’t like it.  It was too confusing and there were too many people.

What did you like?
I can’t really think of one think I liked.  We had the same freedoms in Ireland as here.  We just didn’t have the work.
What didn’t you like? There were just too many people and it was all too confusing. Where did you first live? I first moved in to my brother’s house in Rego Park, Queens.  I lived there for about 4 or 5 months.  Then I stayed with my sister in Woodside on 65th Street.  I lived there for 3 weeks or so until I got married and bought a house of my own nearby. Other Notes Before leaving Ireland Tim had a car service business that was very busy during World War 2 because of the poverty in Ireland and the war time rationing of fuel, metal and rubber.  After the war rationing was lifted and people began to buy cars.  So the car service business went down. 5 of Tim’s siblings (3 sisters and 2 brothers) had already come to New York years before and so were established.  His future wife arrived in New York in December 1948, 7 months after Tim came here.  They married in May 1949. 3 weeks after arriving here Tim’s brother-in-law, who was a NYC Police Sergeant, arranged for him to get 2 job offers – one for the Telephone Company and the other as a bus driver for the Fifth Avenue Coach Company.  That was a private bus company taken over by NYC several years later.  He took the bus driver job and was immediately making $78/week – almost 10 times what he had been making in Ireland. Tim is the second youngest of 10 children and is the last one living at 92 years old.  He grew up on a 50 acre farm in Cork, Ireland in a 3 bedroom house.  There was no running water in the house in his time.
 
Yolanda Cortijo



I arrived New York on April 5, 1989. My Daughter, Mercy was 8 years old (Now 23 lives on Long Island) My husband Edwin was born in USA. I came here for a better life and opportunities. In Eqador I finished the highs and had 3 years of college experience studying computer science. There, I worked for Banana Program National as a computer programmer for $8600 a year. In New York, I worked for 9 years at the Royal Prestige Company until I lost all the  money I had invested in the company. I love New York but I hate the trucks and the delinquents. I work at Queens College as a office custodian. My English is not good to work on computers."
 
Dr. Jassy Min



When did you come to the United States? 1986 Why did you leave? Everybody in his or her life has to face a variety of choices.  Sometimes you can make the choice, sometimes there is no choice for you.  When I was 16 years old, I was sent to the countryside to be a farmer. for 61/2 years.  Because of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, I had no choice.  Kids like me couldn’t go to advanced schooling and my parents, who were doctors, were not allowed to treat patients.  Our country faced severe suffering.  During that time I tried to help. I was a barefoot doctor, carried a Red Cross box place to place to relieve suffering. When the Cultural Revolution was almost finished, I took a chance and  I went to Shanghai First Medical College.  I studied both Western and Chinese medicine and then, I worked in a hospital.  At that time, I feared things were unsettled.  Would the Cultural Revolution happen again?  The country was poor and there weren’t many opportunities.  After I graduated Medical College, I chose to come to America.  That was the biggest choice I ever made because it changed my whole life. What happened the first day you arrived? I arrived at JFK airport in N.Y. with two suitcases, $40.00, no relatives, no friends, a little English, but full of guts! . I was worried on the plane that no one would pick me up when I arrived.  But one of my mother’s previous patients met me.  I stayed with her for 2-3 days. What were your first impressions of New York? I did not speak English and I was afraid. What kind of work did you do?  I tried to do acupuncture in houses.  After that, I took care of the wife of the Taiwanese Consulate for about 1 ½ years. How do you feel now living in the United States?  What did you like and not like? At first, I was too busy with trying to make a living and didn’t think about what I liked or didn’t like.  What don’t I like?  I don’t like the guns and crime.  Now I miss China for my childhood memories, but I like it here.  The more I stay here , the more I like it. 
 
Demetrius Batsivaris



was born in Seres, Macedonia, Greece. There was more opportunity in America. America had a lot of prestige back then too. His brothers Stavros & Yannis still live there. His brother Vasili lives in Thessaloniki.  He landed in JFK aiport in 1982.  He was overwhelmed by the big airport, all those people, big buildings. He felt lost ! He went to 42 Steet to the Greyhound terminal and slept there until the bus came to take him to Worcester, MA.  He had $200 in his pocket. His friend picked him up at the bus stop.  He worked at a pizza place in Holden, MA for a month and stayed with his friend Christoforo.  Then he worked as a dishwasher at the Golden Village where half the waiters were from Seres, his hometown.  7-8 months later he went to Astoria, New York for a weekend and never went back to MA.  He loved everything there, a lot of Greek stores and people so he settled there. He became a citizen in 1991.  Outside of the political nonsense, he loves America. Now, he is in the construction and real estate investment business and is unmarried and active in the Greek/ American political community.
 
Nicholas Karamberis


I left Joannina, Greece  to see my brother in Boston in 1977. I wanted a better life. I came with my wife Anastasia and 2 daughters.. In Greece I was a farmer making 100 drachmas ($3.00)a day. My brother met me at the airport and I liked Boston very much . It was so nice and green.. But the big buildings. They scared  me.. I got a job in a restaurant washing dishes.  I paint houses now and live in Astoria.
 


Italian, Paolo Alberghini
I came to New York in 2002 from Bologna Italy to continue my violin studies  New York is the center for classical music.  The day I came my friend met me at the airport and we took the train to the Bronx. I liked the variety of cultures in New York.  I expected the city to be dirty and the trains were better than I expected.  My parents are living in Puerto Rico. My father is in the clothing business... mens fine suits.  

 

 
     
 


 
     
   
   
   

Happenings
At A Glance

❶ The Board of Trustees of the Anthropology/
Armenian Museum welcomes Lucine Tegnazian as a new member of the board.
❷ The Onassis foundation has informed the Museum that our “Ladies From Your Past” exhibit featuring over 200 famous women, who have made important contributions throughout history, will be placed on their schedule and displayed.
❸ Armenians prefer Armenians...true...Since
Hayk (2492 BCE) genetic studies indicate that
Armenian DNA has little or no admixture for the
past 4000 years according to Science Magazine’s
Genetic Atlas of Human Admixture.
❹ The Anthropology/Armenian Museum is making arrangements to visit Theodore Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay, L.I. In the Spring of 2018. Date and information TBA.
❺ Also in the works is a long weekend (4-5 days)
trip to Cuba in the Fall of 2017.
❻ Dr. Margaret Mead about our Museum.
“This is a very worthwhile project- a museum where the many varied peoples of New York can learn about themselves, their past, their present-and address themselves to their future. Mrs. Kyrkostas has been making forward looking plans, which take advantage of the interest of the local civic leaders and of local facilities. I strongly recommend support.”
7. Hemshin a community of Armenians who
became Muslims. During the 7th Century, Arab
invasions of Armenia, and eventual second class
treatment many converted, but kept their traditional Armenian culture. Today, around 250,000 live in Turkey, Russia and Georgia.
❽ Let us all remember the Four Freedoms by Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Speech, Religion, Want and Fear.
❾ The legend of the Vasilopita celebrates St
Basil’s (William) birthday, who saved a towns
dilemma when valuables were found after they
stolen from the people of Caesaria. Not knowing
what belonged to who, he suggested to the women to bake the pita bread with all the jewels inside. When he cut the pita, miraculously each owner received the right valuable. Today, one
coin is placed and the person receiving it has
good luck all year.